Wednesday, April 18, 2012

China's next flashpoint: South Korea?

A dispute with South Korea over a remote reef has prompted a tense exchange of words between the two countries. There could be more to come. It was named Socotra Rock when discovered by the British in 1900.

It’s called Ieodo in South Korea, and Suyan Rock in China. Regardless of what it’s called, there usually isn’t much reason to discuss a reef that lays 149 kilometers from the nearest piece of South Korean territory and 247 kilometers from the closest part of China. But the area has the potential to become a flashpoint between two of Asia’s biggest economic and military powers.

Seoul summoned Chinese diplomats on March 12 to explain a remark made a few days earlier by a top Chinese official for maritime affairs. The official claimed that Socotra Rock falls in Chinese waters, and argued thatChinese vessels regularly patrol the area, making it rightly Chinese. Read More